Friday, February 10, 2012

Weather - Be Prepared For the Worst

Contributed by Kat Spitz, First Aid / CPR Instructor, Evergreen Safety Council

Yesterday, I was thrilled to see a dogwood beginning to blossom.  With spring rapidly approaching, “weekend warriors” will be out in full force walking, hiking, skiing and snowshoeing, along with many other outdoor activities.  But as plenty of people who love the mountains know, the weather can start out nice and change very, very quickly!

In mid-January, Yong Chun Kim, an experienced snowshoer and guide, became separated from his group on a hike above Paradise at Mount Rainier National Park.  He survived two nights in blizzard conditionswith only what he had packed for a day hike.
Yong Chun Kim handed his camera to rescuers, 
who snapped this photo of him as he was being carried 
after his rescue from Mt Rainier National Park

But people aren’t always so lucky.  Around that same time, four other people were also missing from Rainier.  They were presumed to be prepared enough to hunker down and wait for the bad weather to pass.  After four days, the conditions were still too difficult for even an elite team of mountaineers and the search was suspended.  It is assumed at this time that the missing climbers/hikers were probably getting low on supplies.

As of January 31, 2012, the four had still not been found and the search hadbeen “scaled back”.  It may be spring before we know their fate.

Even if you are just going for a day hike, it is imperative that you are prepared.  Bring food, water, fire starters, communication devices and warm clothes.  Make sure that someone knows when you leave, exactly where you plan to go, and when you plan to return.  The more detail you can provide about your plans before you go, the better the chances that you will be found if the worst happens.

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